Identify and describe at least two competing needs impacting your selected healthcare issue/stressor. Describe a relevant policy or practice in your organization that may influence your selected healthcare issue/stressor. Critique the policy for ethical considerations, and explain the policy’s strengths and challenges in promoting ethics. Recommend one or more policy or practice changes designed to balance the competing needs of resources, workers, and patients, while addressing any ethical shortcomings of the existing policies. Be specific and provide examples. Cite evidence that informs the healthcare issue/stressor and/or the policies, and provide two scholarly resources in support of your policy or practice recommendations.

Assignment: Developing organizational policies and procedures

Conflicting Healthcare Needs/Stressor This healthcare issue concerns the shortfall of nurses within healthcare facilities. This issue has two competing needs. One is to ensure quality patient care and the second is to lower healthcare costs. A shortage of nurses can lead to an increase in workloads, which may compromise patient care. Overworked nurses can make mistakes, which could lead to adverse outcomes for patients. Healthcare facilities must also manage their costs to stay financially sound. This could lead to them being reluctant to employ additional nurses which can strain their finances and reduce profitability.

Staffing Policy or Related Practice within the Organization. This policy could have an impact on the number of nurses working in hospitals. This policy establishes the minimum nursing staff-to-patient ratio healthcare facilities should maintain. It is important because it makes sure that there are enough nurses in healthcare facilities to give adequate care. It is however limited because it doesn’t allow flexibility for patient volume fluctuations or patient care complexity.

Criticism of the Policy on Ethical Considerations. The staffing policy is ethical because it seeks to provide safe and appropriate care for patients. However, the policy’s inflexibility can lead to nurses being overworked, which is unethical. Patients should be treated with dignity by nurses. The policy needs to be updated to allow for flexibility in staffing levels in order to meet patient care requirements.

Recommendations to Policy and Practice Changes The healthcare facility may consider the following modifications:

  1. Implementing flexible staffing models – Healthcare facilities should implement flexible staffing models that allow for adjustments in nurse-to-patient ratios to address variations in patient volumes and the complexity of patient care needs. These models will make sure nurses aren’t overworked while meeting patient care requirements.
  2. Providing incentives for nurses – Healthcare facilities should provide incentives for nurses to encourage them to stay with the facility. These could be competitive salaries, career advancement opportunities and a better balance between work and life.

Research-Based Support for Practice or Policy Changes. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), recommends that hospitals maintain a proper nurse-to patient ratio in order to provide quality care. Studies have also demonstrated that nurses’ staffing levels can impact patient outcomes such as hospital-acquired and mortality rates. Aiken, Aiken, and others. 2014 found that higher nurse-to patient ratios were associated with lower death rates and shorter stays in hospitals. Kane and his colleagues conducted another study. Kane et al. (2007) discovered that higher levels of staffing were linked to a lower incidence of hospital-acquired infection.

The shortage of healthcare nurses presents many competing demands, such as the need for quality healthcare and managing healthcare costs. Although the policy attempts to reduce the nursing shortage, it might not do enough in terms of ensuring nurses aren’t overworked. Therefore, healthcare facilities should implement flexible staffing models and provide incentives for nurses to ensure that patient care needs are met, and nurses’ well-being is considered. These recommendations have been supported by previous research and evidence from IOM.

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